Habib bill to aid entrepreneurs, create jobs wins House approval

“Crowdfunding” measure opens access to investors online

 

The state’s economy would get a boost from entrepreneurs tapping into financial backing to start businesses and create jobs, under the Washington Jobs Act of 2014, a bill passed by the House today.

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“Start-up businesses – from food trucks to software developers – can get the money they need to get off the ground,” the bill’s lead sponsor,Rep. Cyrus Habib, said. “And ordinary people from across the state can share in those businesses’ success.”

 

Habib’s House Bill 2023 allows Washingtonians to engage in equity crowdfunding, the practice of raising money, often over the internet, by soliciting small investments from numerous investors. An outgrowth of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding techniques have been popularized by ventures like Kickstarter. But entrepreneurs are hampered in the use of crowdfunding by complex securities regulations that are expensive and burdensome.

 

The measure drew bipartisan support, and was advanced to the Senate on an 89-9 vote.

 

“This is a strong economic development bill,” Republican Rep. Kevin Parker of Spokane said on the House floor. “It’s a wonderful bill that empowers job creators.”

 

And Republican Rep. Chad Magendanz of Issaquah said, “This is really a game-changer when it comes to funding new start-up businesses….This opens up a lot of new opportunities for new businesses to settle in the state of Washington.”

 

The bill is tailored to apply only to Washington state companies raising limited amounts of capital in small individual amounts from in-state investors. If the measure becomes law, Washington would join only a handful of states that have eased access to equity crowdfunding.